The Cíes Islands are part of a 21,000-acre national park off Spain's Galician coast. They boast a pristine array of cliffs, caves, forests and beaches amid the peaks of partly submerged mountains near the Ria de Vigo estuary. They're also teeming with wildlife — including the largest colony of yellow-footed seagulls in Europe.
The islands have no hotels and are virtually uninhabited by humans, so the estimated 22,000 pairs of seagulls pretty much run the show. And when some Swiss tourists recently visited, they were given a clear reminder of this pecking order.
As seen in the video above, the tourists place their GoPro camera on the wall of an overlook near a curious gull. Someone off-camera tosses the bird a piece of food, which it gladly accepts. Perhaps emboldened by this gesture, the gull then bites onto the camera itself and flies off, prompting a shocked outcry from the tourists.
With the camera still rolling, the gull first takes a short flight to another nearby wall. The tourists come running up before it has a chance to inspect its prize, though, so it takes off again. This time it flies a bit farther, revealing a picturesque slice of the surrounding scenery (along with part of its beak and the occasional wing flap).
This isn't the first time a seagull has stolen a GoPro and filmed its getaway. Similar videos from Cannes, France, and San Francisco also went viral in 2011 and 2012, for example. But this gull caught an especially dramatic glimpse of the Cíes Islands in just a few seconds — steep cliffs bristle with greenery below, overlooking the foggy shoreline as waves splash against boulders dotting the coast. And it has been well-received, racking up more than 2.4 million views on YouTube in less than 10 days.
The gull eventually relents and puts the camera down, but it still makes time to pose for a few selfie frames before the camera's owners finally catch up. After all, the life of a seagull is more than just finding food and filming scenic videos. When the working day is done — apologies to Cyndi Lauper — gulls just want to have fun.
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